More than 150 people onboard a Diamond Princess cruise ship in Sydney are suffering from norovirus gastroenteritis. Rough Cut-subtitled (no reporter narration).
With cruise ship "outbreaks" regularly appearing in the news, awareness of Norovirus -- an extremely common and highly contagious virus that causes gastroenteritis -- has been significantly raised.
But before you reconsider that long-awaited cruise vacation because of gloom-and-doom reports on television and in your daily paper, know these facts:
Norovirus is not a "cruise ship" virus, nor does it limit itself to sea-going vessels.
Norovirus spreads swiftly wherever there are many people in a small area, including nursing homes, restaurants, hotels, dormitories ... and cruise ships.
The common cold is the only illness more common, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta estimates that there are more than 20 million cases of Norovirus annually.
Norovirus is associated with cruise travel simply because health officials are required to track illnesses on ships (and are not at hotels and resorts); therefore, outbreaks are found and reported more quickly at sea than on land.